Wood dominant in Class A rehab start

Wood dominant in Class A rehab start

PEORIA, Ill. -- Class A batters were outclassed by Kerry Wood on Sunday night at O'Brien Field.

Pitching for the Peoria Chiefs as part of his comeback from shoulder surgery, Wood struck out 12 Lansing Lugnuts batters in a dominant five innings.

Wood got a no-decision before Peoria went on to win, 5-3, on Ryan Norwood's two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning.

"I feel great," said Wood, who reported no pain. "I feel like the work that I've put in through this rehab is showing for me. I feel good when I'm out there. I didn't get winded."

Wood gave up one hit, one walk and one hit batter in five innings. Of his 70 pitches, 51 were for strikes. His top velocity was 97 mph.

Wood's chance for the Midwest League win ended when Lansing scored three runs off Peoria reliever Jeff Teasley in the seventh to tie the game at 3.

"I thought Kerry threw the ball outstanding," said Chiefs manager Jody Davis, a former Cubs catcher. "It looked effortless, just like he was playing catch. He made it look easy.

"I know it's not the same kind of hitters he's used to facing, but you know those kids over there were getting up to face a big-leaguer."

During the game, Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild and head athletic trainer Mark O'Neal kept in touch with the Chiefs dugout during the game. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry checked in with Minor League field coordinator Dave Bialas and director of baseball operations Scott Nelson, both of whom were at the game.

"His command of the fastball was good," Bialas said. "It was nice and free and easy. He threw the ball good. I was very happy with what I saw. The key is how he feels. His stuff is definitely there."

Pitching in the Midwest League eight years and one day after his 20-strikeout game against the Houston Astros, Wood recorded his first 10 outs via strikeout.

"I was impressed most with the location -- the fastball the first few innings, then the breaking stuff the third, fourth and fifth innings," Wood said. "You try to go out and make pitches, regardless of what level you're at."

Wood quickly created a buzz from the overflow crowd of 8,426, sixth-largest in franchise history.

In the first, Wood had three Lugnuts batters swinging late on mid-90s fastballs.

In the second, Wood issued a walk on a close 3-2 pitch to Joey Metropoulos and a single up the middle by Josh Bell on a hanging slider. He registered two Ks on sliders, one looking.

Two of Wood's three strikeout victims in the third were caught looking on sharp sliders.

The Midwest League's second-leading RBI man, Cory Patton, took a slider for strike three in the fourth for strikeout No. 10. Metropoulos flew out to right field for the first Lansing out that was put in play. Wood hit Brian Pettway with a pitch before a groundout ended Lansing's half of the inning.

Wood capped his night with two more strikeouts in the fifth, both on high fastballs. He struck out seven on fastballs, four on sliders and one on a curveball. Sunday was Wood's second strong outing against Minor League competition.

On Tuesday, Wood allowed one hit and struck out eight in five scoreless innings against rookie-league competition in Mesa, Ariz.

Wood, 28, expects to make one more rehab start -- most likely at Triple-A Iowa -- before returning to the Cubs. If Wood hits no setbacks, he will beat fellow right-handed starters Mark Prior and Wade Miller back to the Chicago rotation. All three are coming back from shoulder injuries.

"I feel smooth," Wood said. "I feel pretty good. I'm not trying to overcompensate or do anything different. I'm just trying to stay smooth."

Ryan Ori is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.